Middletown Man Gets Prison In Drunken Boating Crash That Killed ‘Best Friend’

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Middlesex_countyBy Christine Dempsey and David Owens, Hartford Courant

VERNON — A Middletown man was sentenced to three years in prison for a drunken boating crash in Union two years ago that killed his best friend.

Michael Antol, 43, will be on special parole for five years when he is released from prison.

He pleaded guilty in December to second-degree manslaughter with a vessel while under the influence of alcohol in connection with the death of Richard J. Franas Jr., 40, of Hebron, who was thrown from Antol’s boat into a tree after Antol’s speeding boat crashed into rocks.

“I regret everything that has happened,” Antol said Friday in Superior Court in Rockville. Franas “was my best friend and I loved him.”

As part of the plea agreement with Tolland State’s Attorney Matthew C. Gedansky, Antol faced up to five years in prison. His lawyer, Jake Dovovan, convinced Judge Jorge A. Simon that three years was an appropriate sentence.

State environmental conservation police said Antol was drunk and operating his 17-foot power boat at a high speed in a no-wake zone on Mashapaug Pond At Bigelow Hollow state Park in Union when it ran aground and hit rocks and trees about 11 p.m. April 21, 2012. It was the first day of fishing season.

Franas was violently thrown from the boat, struck some trees, then landed in the water.

Franas was rescued by firefighters and divers and taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford, then transferred to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford. He died of his injuries on April 25. The cause of death was asphyxia by submersion, or drowning. Antol suffered minor injuries and was treated at Johnson Memorial.

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